By: Julio Olmo
At one time during the 1980s all four professional teams in Philadelphia were world champions or runners-up to a championship.
And for good measure in 1985 the Villanova Wildcats upset the heavily favorite Georgetown Hoyas winning the NCAA Basketball Championship in dramatic fashion.
It was a glorious time to be a Philadelphia sports fan.
The plunge from that Mountain Top has turned out to be one Hell of a free-fall though.
Being labeled back then as The City of Champions by the national media, caught up with us big time.
It’s difficult to rank one sports team from another during that era, but the Philadelphia Flyers remain as untouchable as they come nowadays.
The faithful loves the orange and black.
The Flyers originally were granted to Philadelphia in 1967 as part of an expansion move by the National Hockey League.
So basically, the fans gave birth to the franchise and as far as we’re concern…win, lose or tie – The Flyboys are much more than just a hockey team.
The Flyers are family and…Nothing is stronger than Family!
The Flyers’ fabled Broad Street Bullies’ days might be well behind nowadays, but their reputation lives on for posterity inside NHL history books forever and the Flyboys one day will rise again.
The national media, along with other NHL hierarchy, labeled them thugs and goons because of all of their antics, but those very same softies had to come begging on their hands – and knees! – so the Broad Street Bullies could defend the NHL’s honor in 1976.
The Soviet Union had send a team nicknamed the Red Army and they were just steam rolling every team the NHL threw at them during an exhibition tour.
Until the Flyboys got a hold of them that is, and punk the Russians right back inside their locker-rooms at the old Spectrum.
The national media and the NHL pounded their chests red with pride back then as the Broad Street Bullies saved their honor.
Ironically, four years later a bunch of college kids used an almost identical blue print to beat, that very same,
Invincible Red Army Hockey Team in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid , New York.
However, the media decided to label that as the Miracle on Ice, as if the Russians had never been beaten before.
But, that’s the life of a thug. Nobody likes a villain, but someone has to play the role, right?
For me personally, the face of the franchise will always be Bobby Clarke.
Clarke played his entire career for the Philadelphia Flyers and nothing could ignite a bench clearing brawl any faster than an opponent maliciously tussling with the team’s eternal captain.
Bobby Clarke is Canadian by birth, but the faithful loves him like a son of their own.
Canadian players always joke how their fathers use to drive their mothers crazy because they would flood the house’s backyard with water and wait for it to freeze, so they could get more Ice Time when they were little.
Although these stories are embellished. Hockey in Canada is a way of life since the 1800s.
Fathers work ten hour days, but somehow still manage to attend all of Junior’s games.
Hockey Moms in Canada make Soccer Moms in the United States look pedestrian by comparison and it’s not unheard of to see Junior’s younger siblings doing their school homework on the stands, while he’s practicing.
You’re not going to get the better of any kid born into this kind of life, unless you – at the very least! – bring your A game to him.